RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Thursday, October 8


People are complaining about “these linebackers” and shit like that on my timelines again, and it’s an annual seasonal reminder of how thankful I am I gave up the American football for the world’s football. 45 dudes mostly standing around, running head first into each for about 11 minutes over an almost four hour commercial-heavy mind-numbing suck at a screen? Like they hardly do shit the whole time, and yet somehow still obliterate their own brains. Is there anything more American? Extract all physical usefulness out of these young men in a small window of their prime physical years and leave the empty physical remnants walking around the Earth afterwards, broke more often than wealthy off the whole deal, like human slag piles from mining operations.
You know how much fucking money good soccer players get paid? And that there’s literally a slew of domestic markets around the world, with a variety of clubs within each of those markets, that would play for your services if you were good? And that you don’t give yourself CTE? I think America’s development of soccer should be based around that shit more, with youth from more marginal backgrounds, because there’s a fucking HUGE opportunity to actually get paid, with far less destruction of your own body.
Look at Carlos Tevez. Born in Buenos Aires, with a giant burn scar on his neck from getting scalded with boiling water as a kid. Shit his whole story is wild, because he was born Carlos Martinez, but ended up taking on his adopted father’s surname in some sort of dispute between his original childhood club, All Boys, and the infamous Boca Juniors, whom his family signed him with when he was 13. At Boca Juniors, he became a star. This is one of Argentina’s biggest two clubs, along with River Plate. River is sort of the club of the bourgeoisie, while Juniors is the club of the people, and was where the legend of Diego Maradona was born in the decades past. Tevez was featuring for Boca Juniors senior club at the age of 17, and it wasn’t long before he was sold to a wealthier Brazilian club for a season, then off to the deep coffers of the English Premier League, where he spent a single season with West Ham before moving onto stints at both major Manchester clubs, with two seasons at United before making the rare jump to heated rivals and playing four for Manchester City. He absolutely lit up the Premier League his first two season with them, with 52 goals over all competitions those first two seasons in the powder blue. All told, he got over a hundred goals in Manchester, at both clubs, before transferring for a couple of seasons to Italy’s premier club, Juventus, and another high profile gig.
All this time, he remained a wild spirit from Buenos Aires, never having to hide his feral side too much, and refusing to ever get cosmetic surgery to cover that burn scar. For the most part since 2015, he’s played back in Argentina for Boca Juniors, one of the highest paid players in South America. You can’t even say it was past his prime, because he got 29 goals in Italian and continental competition for Juventus his last season for them, strong numbers for a striker entering his 30s. And though he did play for a huge paycheck for part of 2017 in China, he’s been back at Boca Juniors since then, and is key to their Copa Libertadores efforts this season. They’d looked like they might not make the knockout stages, due to Covid wracking the club roster, and their aging manager actually even managing matches virtually, believe it or not, due to his high risk status to the virus. But Boca still looks to be moving forward, and that’s in no small part due to Carlos Tevez’s 36-year-old ass straight up stalking the pitch, as fierce as ever.
And while Tevez is certainly not a political figure, at least not in any respectable sort of way, it’s hard not to compare that life trajectory of person through sport to Colin Kaepernick, for the sake of argument between American football and world football. Tevez was 3 when Kaep was born. As Tevez made his name known as a young star in South America for Boca Juniors and Corinthians, Kaepernick became a multi-sport athlete of some exception in California. From 2006-2010, Tevez moved onto England, to bigger contracts from West Ham to Man United, from Man United to Man City. Kaepernick, by American football’s design, spent five years as a student-athlete, with the diminutive financial benefits that come with that system, at University of Nevada.
From 2011-2016, Tevez continued to get paid as one a league superstar, in England, then Italy, and then returned home to Argentina as that nation’s domestic league’s biggest star in a number of years. A hero returned home. This same period saw Kaepernick battle his way to being the starter for the San Francisco 49ers, be condemned as not an elite QB, despite favorable statistics in two playoff runs in 2012 and 2013, and then get cast aside after a couple of rough seasons as star player on a team of 45 human beings, which also involved some high profile acts of protest which the NFL didn’t appreciate at all. There was no other league to go to though, no other country to go be a star in, no right to work anywhere else. So while Tevez has soaked in the adulation of his native Argentina, and become an absolute all-time legend at Boca Juniors, and even mixed in a well-compensated vacation to Shanghai, China, Kaepernick has been on ice, unable to get anything more than a performative NFL tryout after American police killed so many black men, the league felt guilty enough to capitalize on woke marketing to stage a Kaepernick workout.
So on one hand you have a sport that’s incredibly destructive, with a limited market for making money for yourself if you get good at it, where if you piss the bosses off, you’re locked out forever. On the other hand, you have a worldwide sport with literally layers and layers of pyramids where so long as you can still play to a certain level, and once you have made your name, you can find somewhere to get paid. And it’s physically demanding, like any sport is going to be, but you’re not obliterating your own ability to think, at least not with the sport itself. Why the fuck would you want to choose that shit for your kids? Why the fuck would you want to keep supporting it by watching it?
I guess mostly, it’s tradition. People in America grew up watching American football, so we continue to throw good brains after bad. But I understand. Why do anything less self-destructive and better for you if nobody did it before you? It’s better to run straight into that wall of seasonal anger and alcohol-fueled madness, because that’s all you know, yelling at TV screens during endless commercial breaks, where the last two minutes lasts for half an hour. All for nothing. Meanwhile, I’m feeling good on my wild lettuce tincture, enjoying high quality Copa Libertadores matches on a Thursday night, where that shit is signed, sealed, and delivered well within two hours. And usually, when it gets to South American club football knockout stages, you get a couple good fights in those last added minutes too, to get you hyped up as it ends. America is fucking cancelled in my opinion. We can’t even do toxic machismo in an enjoyable way.

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